* Transportation stocks among worst performers
* Disney shares up after results
* Bull market shows "maturing age" -analyst
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Feb 6 U.S. stocks were little changed
on Wednesday as investors, without any major economic reports to
guide them, awaited fresh incentives to trade after rallies took
the S&P 500 to five-year highs.
Transportation stocks were among the worst performers,
weighed down by a 10 percent drop in CH Robinson Worldwide
to $60.40 after the freight transport company posted a
lower-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit.
The Dow Jones Transportation index shed 0.3 percent
after closing at a record high Tuesday for a gain of more than
10 percent in 2013.
The benchmark S&P 500 index has advanced 6 percent this
year, climbing to its highest since December 2007. The Dow
industrials have risen above 14,000 recently, making it a
challenge for investors to push stocks higher in the absence of
strong positive catalysts.
"Overall, we believe that the next near-term market dip
should provide an opportunity to buy stocks ahead of rallies
higher in the coming months, but we are skeptical about the
long-term sustainability of these gains due to the maturing age
of the bull market," said Ari Wald, equity research analyst at
C&Co\PrinceRidge in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 5.28 points,
or 0.04 percent, at 13,984.58. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 0.56 point, or 0.04 percent, at 1,511.85. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 1.67 points, or 0.05
percent, at 3,173.25.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq index was supported by Apple Inc
, which rose 1.1 percent to $462.62.
Walt Disney Co was among the bright spots, up 1.1
percent at $60.31, after the company beat estimates for
quarterly adjusted earnings and gave an optimistic outlook for
the next few quarters.
According to Thomson Reuters data through Wednesday morning,
of 301 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported
earnings, 68.1 percent have exceeded analysts' expectations,
above a 62 percent average since 1994 and 65 percent over the
past four quarters. In terms of revenue, 65.8 percent of
companies have topped forecasts.
Looking ahead, fourth-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies
are expected to grow 4.7 percent, according to the data, above a
1.9 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season.
The benchmark S&P index rose 1.04 percent Tuesday, its
biggest percentage gain since a 2.5-percent advance on Jan. 2
after lawmakers agreed on a temporary delay of the "fiscal
Ralph Lauren Corp climbed 8 percent to $178.15 as the
best performer on the S&P 500 after reporting renewed momentum
in its holiday-quarter sales and profits.
Time Warner Inc jumped 4.4 percent to $52.15 after
reporting higher fourth-quarter profit that beat Wall Street
estimates, as growth in its cable networks offset declines in
its film, TV entertainment and publishing units.
Visa, the world's largest credit and debit card
network, is expected to report earnings per share of $1.79 for
its first quarter, up from $1.49 a year earlier. Smaller rival
MasterCard MA.N recently reported better-than-expected results
but said its revenue growth could slow in the first half of the
year due to economic uncertainty.